Officer’s Apology to Moats Is Tale of Forgiveness

What does compassion and forgiveness feel like?

Robert Powell is finding out.

An officer with the Dallas Police Department, Powell became the focus of national scrutiny after pulling over Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats and his family outside a hospital.

What started as a routine traffic stop for running a stop sign turned into a full-blown altercation between Powell and the Moats family, which was rushing to the hospital to see the player’s gravely ill mother-in-law. While a verbal exchange was traded outside the hospital, Moats’ mother-in-law died, setting off a wave of condemnation for Powell and the police department. Powell has since been placed on administrative leave.

In an interview with a Dallas TV station, a humble Powell apologized for his actions. He wisely admitted that he fears for his job, obviously trying to calm any fresh allegations he’s appearing as a publicity stunt to rescue his career.

At 25 years old, Powell is young for any profession. All of us can think back to dumb mistakes we made early in our careers through inexperience and perhaps, as in Powell’s case, overzealousness. If you’re under 25 and reading this thinking it won’t happen to you, just wait, it’s part of the learning process.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the Moats family said they would be willing to accept an apology from Powell. The Associated Press reports that Moats has accepted Powell’s apology.

This is a question of introspection. Could you forgive someone for unwittingly preventing you from seeing a relative on their deathbed?

I’m not going to take a sanctimonious stand here and say all should be forgiven, because I truly don’t know how I would act. But I do know forgiveness is an important part of the healing process for both sides in this type of situation, and Moats and Powell are both better men for granting and accepting the apology.


Be First to Comment

  1. said:

    Powell comes across in the interview as very humble. I imagine that he has been through a lot since this incident happened. I can only hope that if I am every in the same situation as the Moats family that I could be as gracious.

    March 31, 2009
  2. No doubt. It’s difficult to fathom being left out of an opportunity to be with and pray for a dying relative under that set of circumstances.

    March 31, 2009
  3. BryLeigh said:

    We are called to forgive, not forget. We are called not to dwell upon, but release. You can only release what is yours to hold onto. The victims of this mistake have shown how to do all of the above.

    April 18, 2009

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